Kirstjen Nielsen's Resignation

Once again, Donald Trump has catered to his underninformed, xenophobic voter base. He met with Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen Sunday and asked for her resignation, which she readily provided. She'd had enough.

While the 30-minute meeting was cordial, Mr. Trump was determined to ask for her resignation. After the meeting, she submitted it.

What happened? [More...]

The president called Ms. Nielsen at home early in the mornings to demand that she take action to stop migrants from entering the country, including doing things that were clearly illegal, like blocking all migrants from seeking asylum. She repeatedly noted the limitations imposed on her department by federal laws, court settlements and international obligations.

According to the Times article, after the meeting he tweeted "“Our Country is FULL!”.

Yes, Emma Lazarus must be turning in her grave. Yes, it is deplorable and frightening that Trump believes he has the power to disregard federal law and impose his will over the will of Congress.

But it is equally frightening that Trump is allowing himself to be led around by his nose on a leash held by his anti-immigrant attack dog, Stephen Miller, who couldn't get elected dog-catcher. And that he continues to rely on advice from characters of dubious experience like Brad Parscale, the former website builder he appointed last year to run his 2020 reelection campaign. It was Kushner who brought Parscale on board to oversee Trump's 2016 "digital marketing" team as the two learned the basics of placing targeted Facebook ads on the fly. After the election, Parscale was quick to take credit for the Trump's stealth attack on the electoral college vote, telling "60 minutes":

“I understood very early that Facebook was how Trump was going to win,” Parscale said of the campaign’s use of social media during the 2016 presidential campaign. “I think we used it better than anyone ever had in history.”

Of course it wasn't really Parscale's idea or Kushner's accomplishment. As Bloomberg News reported when its reporters were allowed to hang out with the campaign in the final weeks, Kushner and Parscale were mere logs in the cabin built by Cambridge Analytica and its owners, chief among them, the radical right Mercer family and Steve Bannon.

[A]fter Trump locked down the GOP nomination by winning Indiana’s primary, Kushner tapped Parscale, a political novice who built web pages for the Trump family’s business and charities, to begin an ambitious digital operation fashioned around a database they named Project Alamo. With Trump atop the GOP ticket, Kushner was eager to grow fast. “When we won the nomination, we decided we were going to do digital fundraising and really ramp this thing up to the next level,” says a senior official.

....Powered by Project Alamo and data supplied by the RNC and Cambridge Analytica, his team is spending $70 million a month, much of it to cultivate a universe of millions of fervent Trump supporters, many of them reached through Facebook. By Election Day, the campaign expects to have captured 12 million to 14 million e-mail addresses and contact information (including credit card numbers) for 2.5 million small-dollar donors, who together will have ponied up almost $275 million. “I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine,” says Bannon. “Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.”

It was Cambridge Analytica that reportedly figured out that since Trump hadn't bothered to create or expand on a traditional voter database like the Democrats, his only conceivable path to the White House lay in suppressing the liberal vote and rallying xenophobic, under-educated, bigoted rural voters, which they did by using racist, xenophobic and anti-Hillary/ anti-liberal ads, and placing them in the right spots, predetermined by their data. More from the same Bloomberg October, 2016 article:

Today, housed across from a La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery along Interstate 410 in San Antonio, the digital nerve center of Trump’s operation encompasses more than 100 people, from European data scientists to gun-toting elderly call-center volunteers. They labor in offices lined with Trump iconography and Trump-focused inspirational quotes from Sheriff Joe Arpaio and evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr. Until now, Trump has kept this operation hidden from public view. But he granted Bloomberg Businessweek exclusive access to the people, the strategy, the ads, and a large part of the data that brought him to this point and will determine how the final two weeks of the campaign unfold.

On Parscale:

Like so many Trump die-hards, Parscale, 40, is an up-from-nothing striver who won a place in the Trump firmament by dint of his willingness to serve the family’s needs—and then, when those needs turned to presidential campaigning, wound up inhabiting a position of remarkable authority. He oversees the campaign’s media budget and supervises a large staff of employees and contractors, a greater number than report for duty each day at Trump Tower headquarters. “My loyalty is to the family,” he says. “Donald Trump says ‘Jump’; I say, ‘How high?’ Then I give him my opinion of where I should jump to, and he says, ‘Go do it.’ ”

According to Bloomberg, Parscale is "one of the few within Trump’s crew entrusted to tweet on his behalf."

On Oct. 19, as the third and final presidential debate gets going in Las Vegas, Donald Trump’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are being manned by Brad Parscale....He’s equipped with a dashboard of 400 prewritten Trump tweets.

....10:02 p.m.: Trump, onstage, criticizes Hillary Clinton for accepting foreign money. “Fire it off!” Parscale barks. Instantly, a new Trump tweet appears: “Crooked @HillaryClinton’s foundation is a CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE. Time to #DrainTheSwamp!”

After the 2016 election there was acrimony between Cambridge Analytica's CEO, Alexander Nix and Parscale as they both claimed the lion's share of credit for the data gathering and targeted ad strategy they believed responsible for Trump's electoral college win:

The Trump campaign was drawn into the controversy by Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix, who was heard on one of the undercover videos boasting about his company’s work for Trump and effectively claiming credit for the Apprentice star’s election victory. Cambridge Analytica, Nix said, “did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy.”

Parscale, who’d hired the firm, called out Nix’s boast as “false and ridiculous,” and in the months since he and other Trump and RNC officials have been busy downplaying Cambridge Analytica’s work for the campaign.

More on Nix and the boastful undercover recording here.

No matter, former Cambridge Analytica staffers and Parscale are playing nice and working together again on Trump's 2020 campaign -- just one big happy family.

The AP confirmed that at least four former Cambridge Analytica employees are affiliated with Data Propria, a new company specializing in voter and consumer targeting work similar to Cambridge Analytica's efforts before its collapse. The company's former head of product, Matt Oczkowski, leads the new firm, which also includes Cambridge Analytica's former chief data scientist.

...Oczkowski told the AP that three of the people on Data Propria's 10-person team are Cambridge Analytica alumni, but said they were focused on campaign operations and data analysis — not behavioral psychology. Data Propria is "not going down the psychometrics side of things," he said.

Also now working with the Trump team for 2020: is former Cambridge Analytica data scientist David Wilkonson. According to the AP:

During the 2016 campaign, Wilkinson helped oversee the voter data modeling that informed Trump's focus on the Rust Belt, according to a Cambridge Analytica press release issued after the election.

The same AP article reports Trump campaign manager Parscale holds a financial stake in Data Propria:

Another issue raised by Data Propria's work on Trump's re-election effort is the firm's financial links to Parscale, Trump's campaign manager.

Parscale is a part owner of Data Propria's parent company, a publicly traded firm called Cloud Commerce that bought his digital marketing business in August. ...Parscale sits on Cloud Commerce's board of directors and provides the company with the majority of its $2.9 million in revenue, according to the company's most recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

By working with a Cloud Commerce subsidiary, the Trump campaign could be helping Parscale profit beyond his $15,000 monthly campaign retainer and the commissions he has been collecting on Trump's digital advertising spending.

Why do I raise all this in a post about the resignation of a Trump cabinet member or yet another mean-sprited Trump tweet that flies in the face of American values? Because it seems to me that Trump is not in charge of his own agenda. In my opinion, he's not smart enough to create an agenda, and he is nothing more than a puppet for a few radical right aides and wealthy foreign investors and business owners, who along with his untalented and inexperienced children, are the only ones still standing in his orbit.

The mainstream media can't resist making Trump's emotionally charged, button-pushing words on Twitter (probably written by a staffer)the headline, when it should be watching and reporting on Trump's data-mongers and ad-placement team as they continue to fine-tune their skills aimed at manipulating under-informed, xenophobic, and bigoted liberal-haters, to lead them to victory in 2020.

Unchecked data-mining, artificial intelligence, and targeted advertising are not just overly privacy-intrusive, they are capable of destroying a democracy. Either the mainstream media isn't capable of explaining this in terms the American public can understand, or else the media's very existence is so invested in and dependent on these same activities that it refuses to.

The message of Donald Trump has always been one of self-aggrandizement, division, fear-mongering and hatred. For more than a year, I have refused to allow him or his supporters to permeate my consciousness. I don't read his Twitter feed. I change the radio station as soon as I hear his voice. I don't watch cable news. I don't read news articles with videos unless my computer speakers are turned off. And I am still bombarded by more Trump than is humanly good for the soul.

The resignation of any Trump cabinet member is unfortunate -- said no one, ever. It also should not be the lead to the story.

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  • Display: Sort:
    A couple of days ago (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 08:30:48 AM EST
    I went bowling with a couple of friends.  While we were there one of my friends started talking to the next group over.  Who were of course MAGA morons

    The subject quickly turned to the border.  It's shocking how ignorant these folks are about the law.  You called them under informed I would call them totally uninformed.  On the most basic stuff.

    They were raging about why don't they just shoot these people they are breaking the law, it's just like some one was breaking into your house, etc.  we tried to explain they are not actually breaking the law.  That the law says they come and apply for asylum.  Which got smirks and guffaws.  

    They love what Trump is doing.  

    It's honestly hard to know if they actually don't understand the law or just don't like the law so are happy for him to break it.

    But the thing that always surprises me is how perfectly what comes oozing out of their mouths matches exactly with what comes out of Trumps mouth.  These do not appear to be people you can imagine even watching FOX.

    I guess they get it from talk radio.

    Also about the post, no great loss.  On the other hand Trump will get another "acting".  As he has said before he loves his "actings".  They are easier to control.

    They constantly used the word (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 08:32:51 AM EST
    Invasion.  These are invaders and simply should be shot.  Even suggesting "citizens" make take this on themselves.

    The (none / 0) (#4)
    by FlJoe on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 08:44:49 AM EST
    same language used by the Tree of Life and New Zealand murderers.

    Straight from the mouth of Stephen Miller, the true heart of evil in the WH.


    It has been my experience that the flag wavingest, (none / 0) (#5)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 08:46:37 AM EST
    bible poundingest, faux constitution spewing degenerates are the absolutely least knowledgeable when comes to what they are spewing about. These idiots with their cars papered in flag stickers, don't tread on me and super jeebus saves bumper stickers usually don't have a clue as to what the Constitution or bible actually says. They haven't a clue about due process or rule of law. They think they know what the 2nd amendment says but couldn't tell you a single about the other 26. Bone Spurs is a moron. But he put in place a lot more of them.

    I had a discussion (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 10:32:02 AM EST
    with a conservative the other day who said he got all his information from the federalist papers. This discussion was about the EC. Anyway as the conversation devolved I figured out he knew nothing about the federalist papers because I had googled them and found out federalist #68 supported nothing he had to say. I figure this is something he was spoon fed on talk radio or one of his conservative propaganda sites.

    Be careful. These are likely also (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 10:34:03 AM EST
    gun-toting patriots.

    Almost certainly (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 12:54:01 PM EST
    Forget about guns (none / 0) (#13)
    by jondee on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 10:44:24 PM EST
    I wouldn't trust those people with a pocket knife.

    I love that one their heroes, Trump's pal Alex Jones is finally getting his comuppance.


    Now (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by FlJoe on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 03:26:35 PM EST
    for the back story and it's even wilder than you can imagine
    President Donald Trump has been pushing to reinstate broader family separation policies and sought to close the US-Mexico border at El Paso, Texas, as his conflict with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reached a boiling point.

    Two Thursdays ago, in a meeting at the Oval Office with top officials -- including Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, top aides Jared Kushner, Mercedes Schlapp and Dan Scavino, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and more -- the President, according to one attendee, was "ranting and raving, saying border security was his issue."
    Senior administration officials say that Trump then ordered Nielsen and Pompeo to shut down the port of El Paso the next day, Friday, March 22, at noon. The plan was that in subsequent days the Trump administration would shut down other ports.

    Insanity-check, lawlessness-check and pure unadulterated cruelty-check

    According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.
    Sources told CNN that Nielsen tried to explain they could not bring the policy back because of court challenges, and White House staffers tried to explain it would be an unmitigated PR disaster.
    "He just wants to separate families," said a senior administration official.

    Trump is on (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by KeysDan on Wed Apr 10, 2019 at 11:14:47 AM EST
    a tear.  Turmoil to change the subject and to distract from the devastation of even the redacted, color-coded Mueller Report. With the complicity of his Roy Cohn (aka AG Barr), an investigation of the "oranges" of the FBI/S.C. has been started.  

    There was spying on the Trump campaign and Comey et al attempted a coup.  Therefore, Trump did not obstruct justice, as every American, save for Republicans/deplorable, will clearly see.  No, Trump was just fighting back.

    Yes (none / 0) (#1)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 05:17:19 AM EST
    from what I have read Trump blamed Nielsen for all the problems at the border just like he blames somebody else for every other problem he has. The worse it gets for him the more he seems to double down on white nationalism.

    A cursory google search (sans Westlaw or Lexis), (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 06:33:17 PM EST
    indicates Judge Sabraw, Southern District of California, may have the option to hold DHS in civil contempt.

    Peter g, what say you?

    In any other employment setting, getting fired (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Peter G on Tue Apr 09, 2019 at 08:54:10 AM EST
    for refusing the boss's order to violate the law would set you up for a very nice recovery in a lawsuit.

    Stephen Miller has no idea how to draft (none / 0) (#12)
    by Peter G on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 09:55:34 PM EST
    a lawful policy that does not violate existing statutes and injunctions. That's for sure. Remember, he's the one who wrote the original travel ban. Then the Tr*mp lawyers tried to rewrite it and that got struck down again. Only when they revised it a third time expressly to accommodate the adverse court orders did the Supreme Court finally uphold it. So I have no doubt they will try to come up with some horrible "tough" policy now that will disregard the court orders they're already under. But judges are super-loath to hold high government officials in contempt. That's not the end game I'd predict.

    Why on earth (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Mon Apr 08, 2019 at 07:29:51 PM EST
    After all the grief it caused them would they go at the zero tolerance thing again and start tearing families apart?

    On the surface it makes absolutely no sense.

    But then Barr has promised to release, at least his version of, the Mueller report by mid April

    It's mid April.  Could it be Trump suspects images of children in cages and the horrible stories that come with it is better than what that report will say?

    This Proves One Thing... (none / 0) (#15)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Apr 09, 2019 at 02:28:17 PM EST
    ...no matter how low or dark you want go for a great paycheck, there is always someone who will go lower and darker.  

    It's best not to give up your principles for $$$ because that is a bottomless pit as demonstrated by the entire Trump regime.

    I think Trump has allowed a lot of people to understand how an authoritarian can take over a country and press their will upon an entire nation, even a nation of laws and democracy.  It is freighting how many folks will jump on board no matter how many laws are broken or how many people are trampled on.

    Where does it end, history is not kind, Trump maybe out in 2 years, but the people that put him where he is aren't going anywhere, if anything they have grown more brazen and more entitled.

    Rick Wilson (none / 0) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Tue Apr 09, 2019 at 08:22:44 PM EST
    says ETTD (Everything Trump Touches Dies) and already many a reputation has been destroyed by nothing more than working for Trump. Who is ever going to hire any of these people? They are going to need to go to court and have their names changed.

    They can run (none / 0) (#17)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Apr 10, 2019 at 11:05:13 AM EST
     But they can not hide

    There's a whole right-wing (none / 0) (#19)
    by jondee on Wed Apr 10, 2019 at 12:10:45 PM EST
    welfare-to-work system set up for these folks at the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hoover Institute..

    And if all else fails, there's always talk radio and Fox.

    All this time they've been padding their resumes to get in on the action.